Australia suffers Olympic setback against France

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia has lost its opening pool match in Rio, going down to France 31-14 on day one in Deodoro.

The Aussies were undone by a hat-trick from French captain Terry Bouhraoua, who had 17 first-half points and 26 overall in the match.

In a first half arm wrestle it took until the fourth minute for Bouhraoua’s first try of the match to break the deadlock.

French skipper Terry Bouhraoua was a game breaker. Photo: Getty IMagesThe Aussies had a chance to answer soon after but lost possession deep in attack to let France off the hook.

Bouhraoua had a double by half-time, with a runaway try putting the French two scores up before the break and hanging on to all the momentum.

The French skipper took his country’s, and his own, tally to 17 points with a rare penalty goal after the half-time hooter, giving Australia a mountain to climb in the second half.

Jesse Parahi gave the Aussies the perfect start to the second half, finishing off a deft Lewis Holland offload to get Australia off the mark.

A super one-two from Cam Clark and captain Ed Jenkins gave the Aussies two tries in three minutes and narrowed the margin to just three points

Australia had chances to create a score but couldn’t get over the line as the margin remained that penalty goal.

Lewis Holland worked hard for Australia. Photo: Getty ImagesFrance hit back with just over a minute to go, through Manuel Dall'igna, before Bouhraoua’s third try of the day sealed the result with seconds left on the clock.

Australia takes on Spain in its second Olympic pool match at 5am AEST Wednesday.

With just three pools instead of the four usually in World Series tournaments, Australia can finish anywhere in the top three of its pool and have a chance at making the quarter-finals.

Australia 14

(Tries: Parahi, Jenkins Cons: Stannard 2)

France 31

(Tries: Bouhraoua 3, Dall'igna Cons: Bouhraoua 4 Pens: Bouhraoua)